Describing Delhi’s Excise Commissioner as the ‘mastermind’ behind a bribery scandal,the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is filing a chargesheet against Commissioner Dr Anup Kumar Srivastava and four others in a two-month-old corruption case.
In its chargesheet,the CBI also named a Superintendent of Central Excise,a middleman and two businessman,alleging a sum of Rs 60 lakh were paid to Srivastava through his conduits. Srivastava was arrested by CBI on January 13 and is at present in judicial custody. His bail was recently rejected by a Delhi court.
The chargesheet was filed by the CBI after it received prosecution sanction against Srivastava from the Ministry of Finance on March 10. Under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE),it is mandatory to obtain the approval of a competent authority before filing an FIR or charge-sheet against an officer of the level of joint secretary or above. The chargesheet details the taped conversation between the middlemen Hemant Gandhi and Srivastava while negotiating the deal. The agency first arrested Gandhi and Superintendent of Central Excise officer Lallan Ojha on January 2.
The agency claims Ojha on the instruction of Srivastava staged a search operation at the premises of two businessman Dilip Agarwal and Anand Agarwal,engaged in import of mobile phone. “A farce search was carried out and no records were created before,during or after the searches. Initially,an illegal gratification of Rs 2 crore was allegedly demanded,which was finally settled for Rs 60 lakh,” said a CBI officer. Both businessman have also been named in the chargesheet as bribe-givers,the CBI said.
The searches at the businessmen’s premises were carried out on December 28 last year and once the deal was finalised,middleman Gandhi collected the installments. “Gandhi collected Rs 20 lakh as well as a ‘self’ cheque of Rs 20 lakh from the importers for not taking any action against them. Out of this,Gandhi delivered a cash of about Rs 3 lakh to superintendent Ojha in his office on January 2,20102,” said an officer. The agency claimed to have seized this money and the cheque issued by the businessman from the possession of the Gandhi.
The CBI had named Srivastava as the main accused (A-1) in the case and described him as the ‘main conspirator’ into the entire conspiracy. The agency claimed that Srivastava not only misused his position as government servant but blatantly carried out the deals in his office. The conversation with the middleman and other were carried out by Srivastava using his official landline and mobile numbers,which are part of the chargesheet.
The agency said the probe to establish the role of senior officials in the Ministry of Finance is underway. There are few new leads in the case which is being examined by the CBI. Meanwhile,the sleuths also claimed to have detected a consignment of Rs 1.50 crore which was allegedly brought by Gandhi to India from Hong Kong. According to sources,Gandhi before his arrests visited Hong Kong from where he allegedly procured memory cards worth Rs 1.50 crore.
The agency during the questioning of the trio found the memory cards lying unclaimed in the custom’s warehouse. It is suspected Gandhi was using the money collected from Ojha and Srivasatva for his import-export business.